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Video Complements Face to Face, it Doesn’t Replace it

by SUMMIT on March 11th, 2015

Video Complements Face to Face

It isn’t hard to see how technology serves to complement and support communication. While tech innovations are being adopted as the preferred way to communicate due to time and economic constraints, completely replacing the personal, face-to-face, interaction in business is just not possible. For instance, let’s say your client is based in a different country, it may not be possible to arrange a face-to-face meeting more than once, given that every organization is concentrating on cutting down costs. Business trips are almost certain to become one of the areas where cuts will be made. However, it is important to keep in mind that personal meetings may make all the difference. This is when you can resort to technology, video conferencing to be more specific, to communicate in a way that can come close to a real life meeting.

Video Conference – Does it Complement or Replace Face to Face Communication?

Just as all things cannot be defined as black or white, every question cannot be answered with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. When we are debating whether video collaboration complements or replaces face-to-face communication, we should remember this technology was developed for the convenience of corporate communications across more than one location, and to take the idea of enterprise mobility forward. This, however, does not mean that the people using the technology should never meet in person. Face-to-face is necessary to maintain transparency and build trust in business dealings.

The point that needs to be made here that video conferencing supports face-to-face meetings. In today’s highly competitive market, it is important to not only make the best use of the technology available to you but to also add your own personal touch whenever possible. For example, due to security issues, some things simply should not be discussed over video. In such cases, an “in real life” face to face meeting may be necessary.

Let’s be Supportive not Subtractive

The idea that video is a replacement for in-person meetings is wrong. Visual communication yields better learning and retention. And, as mentioned above, a video conference, rather than an old fashioned conference call, serves to build trust between people. Body language and facial cues are a vital part of everyday communication, things that are lost when speaking to people over the phone. Therefore, the more often we can hole video meetings, the better. Organizations need to consider how to leverage visual communication as often as possible for greater retention, but the relationship between video collaboration and face-to-face meetings should be supportive of one another and not a replacement for one or the other.

Video conferencing definitely facilitates real time communication and goes a long way to ensure that contact, which has been established with the help of a face-to-face meeting, remains intact without having to plan more such meetings and escalate the expenses. It is important that those in the AV industry realize this complementary relationship between the two forms of communication and avoid ‘overselling’ one and ‘devaluing’ the other. Not everything fits into the bucket of ‘it does’ or ‘it doesn’t’. Customers realize the importance of both. In order to effectively sell technology, it’s important to sell the truth about technology. This truth is best established from the perspective of both customer usage and the resulting profitability to the enterprise. Earning the trust of your users by showing them the right way to get optimum results through a combination of video and face-to-face meetings is important if you are looking at long-term relationships with your customers.

What instances have you faced where a face-to-face meeting wasn’t feasible and a video conference got the job done? We would love to hear your story!

Photo Credit: shirishbendre via Compfight cc

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